Minority politics to hit NCERT books

May 29, 2008

Minority politics will be taken to school when a chapter on the ‘marginalisation’ of Muslims is expected to be included in the NCERT textbooks.

To make students understand this phenomenon, the NCERT has introduced a chapter ‘Muslims and Marginalisation’ in the Class-VIII Social Sciences textbook which speaks about how the Muslims have not got proper benefit in the social and economic development in the country.

The chapter has also cited the findings of the study on Muslims’ status prepared by Justice Rajinder Sachar in 2006.

“Through the chapter, an effort has been made to explain how marginalisation is related to the feeling of prejudices and lack of ability. Marginalisation not only weakens the social status but also deprives the people of availing education and utilisation of resources,” said an NCERT official. [Link]

While the supposed saffronization of textbooks gave a lot of people sleepless nights, this seperatist move is a bigger dent on the secular Indian ethos. The inclusion of this chapter is absolutely unacceptable because this will give heed to a sense of victimisation and promote separatist and extremist tendencies. Such a chapter is on the lines of the Sachar committee recommendations to give separate preferences to the Muslims by secluding them from the mainstream. The NCERT official says that the feeling is related to prejudices and lack of ability, which are both untrue and very harmful for an impressionable child. What such a chapter would succeed to do will be to make people look at Muslims as a special group with specific advantages and disadvantages instead of looking at them as normal citizens.The inclusion of this chapter is unacceptable also because this will promote a feeling of separatist among other religion students. A poor student from any other religion studying this chapter would surely feel dejected. The goal of secular outlook to view all people equally would be heavily compromised by this move.

The political angle to this would be that development models for upliftment which actually benefit the minorities will be overtaken by the policy of giving doles to the minorities because of better print value. The Congress and other secular claimants would be the obvious beneficiaries.

Apart from the political angle to the issue, the claims themselves are refutable. The reasons for the backwardness of the Muslims is not because they are being prejudiced against, it is because the money to be spent for their welfare is being spent instead to send them for a pilgrimage or to “modernize” the primitive religious institutions called Madrassas, both of which do not help the Muslims actually [I know, the issue of Madrasa is highly debatable]. The other reason for the backwardness is that the Muslims are still left at the mercy of the clerics and their fatwas. Development of the nation and the inclusive growth for all poor, not only Muslims is a far better model and will help the Muslims better in the longer run.

To give such fodder to extremism and encourage separatism is against the nation’s interests and this modification to the textbook should be stalled. Free education for all, inclusive growth and development are the way forward.

This kind of education based on partial truth and divisive politics of religions is not acceptable. Let us not corrupt the young minds by our prejudices.

Mr. Shourie should probably not have asked — “What more is needed to stoke reaction?” The government has answered and the answer is not palatable to say in the least.

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9 Responses to “Minority politics to hit NCERT books”

  1. Sasanka said

    Sacha committee is an independent committee that has studied the plight of Muslims in India and many of their observations were ground realities (On top of my mind is the appalling percentage of Muslim students that carry on to high education). If it is the current truth in the Indian society, let the future generation grow up knowing facts. I think, good education should provide truth and not opinions because opinions differ from each person.

  2. Saakshi said

    Please also find out and get the data on the appaling percentage (~0) of farmers who go for high education, same for jats in haryana may be. There can be many reasons for not going for higher education.
    There are two aspects to this, firstly the very nature of data collection is against secular lines, because it gives preferences to one particular community and ignores the problem of dropouts or poverty at large.
    Secondly, to draw and project conclusions that it is because of “prejudice” is wrong, and has dire consequences. There is no denying that the muslims are in general poor, and have remained poor. But the problem is not of the muslims, all poor have mostly remained poor except in fast developing places like Gujarat.
    Most important thing for the muslim society and the government to do would be to remove these wasteful expenditures like Haj [180 crore Rs per year] etc. and market the idea of family planning which would go on to help them.

  3. pragmatic said

    Sasanka, these are the recommendations of Sachar committee in a nutshell. Can you defend even a single one of these? It recommends

    1.the recognition of the degrees from madrassas for eligibility in competitive examinations such as the civil services, banks, defense services and other such examinations!

    2. that Governments use public funds to encourage the formation of Muslim NGOs and their activities

    3. that government provide financial and other support to occupations and areas which are Muslim dominated.

    4. that Muslims be in selection committees, interview panels and boards for public services

    5. that a higher proportion of Muslims be inducted in offices that deal with the public – the teaching community, health workers, police personnel, bank employees etc

    6. provision of “equivalece” to madrassa certificate/degrees for subsequent admission into institutions of higher education.

    7. that government give special incentives to banks to open branches in Muslim dominated areas

    8. that instead of reporting “amount outstanding” banks should report as “sanctions” or “disbursements” to minorities.

    9.that financial institutions should set up separate funds for Muslim entrepreneurs

    10. banks to set up special micro credit schemes for Muslims

    11.that all districts more than a quarter of whose population is Muslim be brought into the prime minister’s 15 point program

    12.that for each program of government, data be maintained separately about the extent to which Muslims are benefiting from it

    13.that each department institute new schemes for the benefit of Muslims

    14. special measures for the promotion of Urdu

    15.that University grants be linked to the diversity of the student population

    16. that eligibility criteria for IIT be scaled down and admission should be extended to madrassa educated children

    17. that incentives to builders, private sector employees, educational institutions be linked to diversity

    18. that where Muslims are elected or selected in numbers less that adequate, a carefully conceived “nomination” procedure be worked out to increase the participation of minorities at grass root level.

  4. pragmatic said

    Its not without any reason that people are opposing such a biased, and dangerous report. When you see farmers committing suicide, do you see their religion? when states like Jarkhand, UP, and areas like Vidarbha, Telegana and North Karnataka are lagging behind in development, whats the point in taking measures to ‘uplift’ only Muslims in those areas and leave others apart?

  5. pr3rna said

    Saakshi,
    //The reasons for the backwardness of the Muslims is not because they are being prejudiced against, it is because the money to be spent for their welfare is being spent instead to send them for a pilgrimage// you are absolutely right. These pseudo secular parties have only taken advantage of the Muslims. The Congress and the SP have both strengthened the divisive forces by their vote bank politics.

  6. Sasanka said

    Firstly, i thank ‘pragmatic’ for educating me on Sachar committee recommendations. I did not know them at such a depth. But, the point of the above blog was the syllabus included in NCERT textbooks. I still do not find a convincing answer for why the children of India should not know that Muslims are a backward community – Farmers are poor, suicides is a shame to country and so is the Muslim backwardness.

    With respect to Haj, i think you should stop criticizing the money spent on it. Development of a community also includes taking care about the aspects of culture and tradition. I think, we should not argue that they should stop spending money on Haj tour and instead divert the funds to Primary education – If i may draw a parallel with Amarnath yatra, i do not think we would agree to it.

    Funny that you mentioned Gujarat and then i went back and read all your previous posts to realize later that this is an extreme-right wing blog.

  7. Saakshi said

    Sasanka,

    Firstly, I am not opposing educating the children about the true face of India. I, in fact, welcome any such move, for them it is important to know the real state of Indians. But why limit it to only Muslims? Teach them about poverty in general. Teach them about disparity in general. Teach them about backwardness in general. Dont get communal by separating and highlighting only the Muslim part and not even mention about other sections of society — for that, I repeat, poverty doesnt see religion. You dont seem to understand this simple point.

    With respect to Haj, I think I should not stop talking about the subsidies. May I bring to your notice the fact that no, yes, zero subsidy is given to Amarnath yatra. Dont you think spending Rs. 250 crores [latest figures] on the Haj is better utilised by supporting the same minority people by providing better education? And mind you, a Muslim can go to Haj any number of times and each time he/she will get the subsidy. The UPA Government has increased the number of Haj pilgrims from 72,000 to 1, 47,000.
    But Amarnath yatra has a poor state of affairs. There is a 10.2% service tax on Kailash-Manasa Sarovar yatra apart from zero subsidy. Please get yourself updated.
    Even the educated Muslims agree to the elimination of Haj subsidy. Better we both shut our mouths!
    http://www.hindu.com/2006/01/17/stories/2006011704901200.htm
    http://www.milligazette.com/Archives/15092002/1509200242.htm

    I permit you to draw a parallel to Amarnath yatra and explain how that is irrational.. and if I agree with you I shall join you in condemning it.

    Regarding Gujarat. I fail to understand why people like you are so flawed in your view on the state. Muslims literacy rate is much better than that in West Bengal and many Congress ruled states. Muslim per capita income is much higher than many other states.

    “….that this is an extreme-right wing blog.” Congrats for the discovery. I make no secret about my political leanings for that I have seen the true face of the Left and the Congress in my state — West Bengal.
    Cant help if you feel my blog is an extreme-right wing one, which only shows your ideological leaning 🙂

  8. Diversified Focus said

    Dear Sasanka,

    Firstly, the blog is not extreme right, I think you are at extreme left.

    And secondly, I am against any subsidy, be it for Haj or Amarnath. I don’t think that tax payer’s money be spent on sponsoring trips for people to go and meet their imaginary friends. More so when their so many other pressing needs in front of the nation.

    So please try to see the context in which this remark was made. With limited resources, government has obligation to see that these resources are used in the most efficient manner.

    On a lighter note, I follow “Seychellism”. And poor man I am, can govt. please take care of my trip to see visit Seychelles.

  9. Assman said

    Two things, there are few reasons that Saakshi mentioned in her post about why this should not happen, because, it is unfair to take them specially in question and project the facts
    second, even if across the minority base, it is unfair to put a colour to the facts ans say that they are because of bias etc.
    third, that if a feeling of victimisation is given fuel it will further raise the extremist tendencies.

    Besides that, she also has argues that the money spent for their welfare is being spent for Haj. It seems to me that she also is batting for the money to be spent for the education and other welfare of minorities.

    It would be hard to contend one way or the other about the right left leanings, if something contradicts logic we should point out, to hold an opinion logically can not be left or right winged.

    ps : I am sadly an atheist minorty left out in all these doles, and religious discussions, I should be given some money for my inward journey too.

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